Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Perfect Pair: Italian Wines

The Congressional Wine Caucus highlighted the wines of Italy at a wine tasting event held on Capitol Hill. Congressman Mike Thompson and Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero hosted the event, bringing in several wine producers: Cristina Mariani-May of Castello Banfi, Marilisa Allegrini of Allegrini Wineries, Daniela Mastroberadino from Terredora Winery, Matteo Lunelli of Ferrari, Luca Paschina and Matteo Zonin of Barboursville Vineyards, Odila Galer-Noel of Gruppo Italiano Vini (GIV).  

This stellar line up offered an amazing tasting of fine Italian wines.  The Ferrari Perle is a sparkling Chardonnay using a metodo classico style of fermentation, first in the tank and then the second fermentation in the bottle.  The wine was dry, with tastes of yeast giving it a sense of almost eating bread.

I tend to favor full bodied reds but was quite excited by the Greco di Tufo, a crisp and fruity white, that would pair well with grilled fish, especially salmon, lemon roasted chicken, or  hors d'oeuvres like olives, buffalo mozzarella and antipasti.  It was not sweet, but full bodied and nicely acidic for summer.

I was also lucky enough to try the Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, an excellent full flavored red made from air dried grapes.  The grapes age for three to four months and creates excellent results.  The concentrated flavor was velvety and warming with spices and showed off some of the best of Italian wine making tradition. 

To try great wines without flying to Italy, check out the Barboursville Vineyard, just two hours south in Barboursville, VA.  The Octagon, an excellent red blend, makes the trip well worthwhile.  I enjoyed the fruitiness and freshness and I am excited to check it out.

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